“Image in the Sand” is the 151st episode of the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the opening episode for the series’ seventh and final season.
Sisko has gone on leave back to Earth to spend time with his Dad (played by Brock Peters) and Jake, meanwhile back on Deep Space Nine life – and war – goes on.
Kira is in charge of the station and must work with the Federation and Romulans as part of the war effort, while Worf, O’Brien, Bashir, and Quark cope with the loss of their co-worker Jadzia Dax. There are several guest stars in this episode, including James Darren who returns as Vic Fontaine, Barry Jenner as Starfleet Admiral Ross, J. G. Hertzler as Klingon General Martok, and Megan Cole as the Romulan, Cretak.
The episode continues the story that began in the finale of the sixth season, “Tears of the Prophets“. Benjamin Sisko has taken extended leave on Earth; Kira Nerys, who has been promoted to the rank of Colonel, is in charge of Deep Space Nine; and Worf is still grieving for Jadzia.
While Sisko deals with his feelings of failure by visiting his father in New Orleans, Kira and Odo deal with life as normal on the station. The Defiant continues its assignment escorting cargo runs, but Nog, O’Brien, and Bashir all notice that something is bothering Worf, beyond Jadzia’s untimely demise at the hand of Gul Dukat. Kira is later called to a meeting with Admiral Ross, who compliments her on the running of the station since Sisko’s departure. “I’m just keeping his seat warm,” she reminds the Admiral, even though he himself is not sure when the Captain will return. He then informs Kira that the Romulan Empire has been given permission to send a permanent delegation to the station, just as the Klingons have. The leader is one Senator Cretak, who is a staunch supporter of the Alliance between Romulus and the Federation, but Kira is not thrilled at this news. Ross ignores her dubious feelings, reminding her that he came as a courtesy, “this decision has already been made”.
Back on Earth, a distant Sisko separates himself from his family, doing nothing but playing the piano in the restaurant his father Joseph owns. His son, Jake, is worried about his father’s attitude, though Joseph realises it will take time. As they talk, Sisko continues playing, until his baseball rolls off the top of the piano and hits the floor. Sisko, stopping his playing, reaches for the ball, and is suddenly pulled into one of the visions that he has been sent in the past by the Bajoran Prophets. In it, he sees himself in the desert on an alien world that he knows to be Tyree. He is digging frantically, before coming across a blanket buried in the sand. Slowly he pulls at it, only to reveal the hidden face of a woman whom he does not recognise. Joseph eventually reveals that the face belongs to Sisko’s biological mother Sarah, who abandoned the family when Sisko was a year old and who later died. Joseph also gives Sisko a necklace of Sarah’s, which has ancient Bajoran writing on it. Later, a Bajoran member of a Pah-Wraith cult led by Gul Dukat (see DS9 episode “Covenant“) attacks Sisko and attempts to kill him to prevent him from finding the Orb of the Emissary on Tyree but Jake knocks him out.
Back on the station, Senator Cretak asks Kira to petition the Bajoran Council of Ministers to allow the Romulans to set up a hospital on the uninhabited moon of Derna. Kira does so and they accept. Later, Odo tells Kira that a Starfleet transport filled with wounded, most of which were Vulcans, was denied permission to dock at the hospital. At first, Kira does not think it is suspicious because of the two species’ mutual distrust, until Odo shows her sensor readings that indicate the presence of plasma torpedoes. Kira then furiously tells Cretak to have the weapons removed immediately, but the Senator refuses.
Meanwhile, Worf confides in O’Brien that he is worried Jadzia will not enter Klingon heaven, Sto’Vo’Kor, because she did not die in battle and the only way to ensure her place in Sto’Vo’Kor is by winning a glorious battle in her name. General Martok tells Worf he needs a first officer for a very dangerous mission that will ensure Jadzia’s place in Sto’Vo’Kor.
At the end of the episode, a young female Starfleet ensign, a Trill, enters and greets Sisko, who does not recognise her. She then introduces herself as “Dax”.
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Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Les Landau.
- Writer(s): Ira Steven Behr and Hans Beimler.
- Release Date: 30 September 1998.
- Running Time: 45 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.